Exercise physiologists refer to the gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after activity as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it is perfectly normal.
Delayed onset muscle soreness occurs when the muscle is performing an eccentric or a lengthening contraction. Examples of this would be running downhill or the lengthening portion of a bicep curl.
The mild muscle strain injury creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. Scientists believe this damage, coupled with the inflammation that accompanies these tears, causes the pain.
No one is immune to muscle soreness. Exercise neophytes and body builders alike experience delayed onset muscle soreness.
If you do find yourself sore after a tough workout or competition, try these methods to deal with your discomfort. Although not all are backed up with research, many athletes report success with some of the following methods.
Common knee injuries-
1) Anterior Cruciate Ligament – The ACL connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone), and helps keep the knee stable. Injuries sprain this ligament and loosen up the joint, making the knee less stable. These happen when there is a twisting motion of the knee, or the knee is hyper-extended. Normally there is a loud painful pop, and then swelling several hours later.
These are hard to be prevented because they occur during accidents BUT the important thing is having good thigh and hamstring muscles, and good stretching practices of your legs, including foam rolling, and quadriceps and hamstrings stretches .
2) Iliotibial Band Syndrome – This is inflammation and pain on the outside of the knee. The IT band is connected from the muscle at the outside of your hip, down your thigh, over your knee, and connects to the top part of your tibia. When this band keeps running over your thigh bone near the knee, irritation occurs. This can happen during running, esp. on sloped surfaces, or running in shoes that are worn in the heel, or due to tight IT bands, tight muscles in hips, pelvis or legs.
Often people will have pain on the outside of their knee. To avoid these injuries- warm up is important as well as stretching exercises, including foam rolling, quadriceps and hamstrings stretching.
3) Meniscal Tear – The meniscus is the cartilage in the middle of your knee that acts as a “Shock absorber” during eight bearing exercises. This can occur with a forceful twist of your knee, or sometimes during squatting. This can be avoided with strengthening your thigh and hamstring, stretching before and after exercise, and wearing proper shoes.
4) Patellar (kneecap) Subluxation (Dislocation) – is when the kneecap moves from its normal position to the groove in the thighbone (femur)- it can be temporary meaning it will slide in and out, or permanent. This can be due to underdeveloped inner thigh muscles, overdeveloped outer thigh muscles, tight IT bands, or if you are knock kneed. Females tend to experience this more frequently, it is believed because females’ outer ligaments are more flexible. Prevention is strengthening your hamstrings and quadriceps, and stretching your IT band, as well as legs before and after exercise.
5) Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome – RUNNERS KNEE – this is often described as pain behind the knee. It is irritation to the inside surface of the knee cap from repeated bending and strengthening, although it can also be affected from mal-alignment of your hips, legs, knees or feet. The main symptom is pain behind the knee, or pain when you walk, run or sit for a while, and the pain tends to be worse going downhill. This can be prevented by strengthening your thigh muscles, both inner and outer, and wearing appropriate shoes.
If you have a concern you have any of these conditions, of course see your practitioner or provider for treatment. The common theme I want to point out with each is that we need STRONG Quadriceps, hamstrings, and inner thigh muscles. We also need to STRETCH those legs, especially if we have any predisposition to these injuries, and this includes foam rolling before and after exercise. Also wear appropriate shoes when working out!
Rouzier, P. (2004) The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor. Amherst: McKesson Health Solutions